When fans approach you to express their appreciation for Chiodos, what are the aspects of the band people really gravitate toward?
What it comes down to is if there’s true soul to the music. I can’t control what style of music our fans like; it’s ever-changing in human beings, and that’s something else I’ve noticed. But I think the commonality from fans is they relate to the soul of what it is that we do. I think it makes them feel. As artists, that’s our job: to make people feel, and to do that through honest interpretations of our own experiences. A lot of our fans early on were thanking us because we got them into screaming music. It wasn’t because we were screaming and they just happened to like us. It was that they listened to us, they connected, then they learned to love that. I think that’s something we have that isn’t ever going away. I think it’s an honest approach in the soul of Chiodos, and it comes from all of the band members; honestly wanting to be there, honestly wanting to make the best music we can, and not really thinking too much about genres or specifications that will limit us. If it’s honest and true and the soul comes through it, then we’re okay playing that and good things will come from it. That’s a lot of the reason why I missed Chiodos—I missed the soul of it.
What’s the most poignant thing you’ve written for this record?
Oh man, that’s heavy. My writing for this record has been the most mature and honest and heavy—it’s heavy. A lot of this record has to do with faith; believing in God, believing in the devil and my battle with that. I think people are really going to hear a lot of that. That being said, there’s everything. There’s nothing on this record that isn’t powerful.
With this record, I had to take a look at myself. I had to say, “You know what? It’s time stop writing self-loathing songs, and start writing how you can help other people.” It’s a different way to write for me, but it’s been really beneficial. I’m known for such deep, dark, sad things. And while it’s still deep and dark, there’s a point where you look in the mirror and you say, “Do I wanna sing about this anymore? And can I write honestly about this anymore or am I trying to fill a role?” I’ve moved on from that past role and evolved. I believe that maturity isn’t necessarily in the sound of the record—it’s still youthful and angst-filled—but it’s got a lot less self-loathing. I take responsibility for the platform that I’ve build for myself, and I’m going to do something good with it.
So being back in this band has given you a sense of self-actualization?
It opened up the possibilities of me staying true to who I am, and helped me along that path. But I think that people will start noticing that it’s going to be a lot less of a narcissistic journey, I guess. Warped Tour was the first time we’ve toured together [in years]; it’s the first time I’ve toured in a year. I had to sit and ask myself, “Is this what I want to do? This feels really narcissistic.” I just had to find a positive way to make that work for me, and make it feel like I wasn’t just out there for myself. It took me a while to realize that I had a platform that gave me the opportunity to give me something good, and I wasn’t just building it up so I could look down and see how big it’s gotten. That actualization and realization freed me because I think that’s who I’ve been all along.
There’s a lyric in this new record, kind of a little summary of what I’m saying about that. I just wrote it before I left on Monday, so who knows if I’ll even like it in a couple weeks. But right now it says what it is that I’m trying to say: “I believed you when you called me the villain/And like the devil that was cast out and defined by sin/I believed I could be some kind of here, but I got lost/And on the way to heaven I was dragged through hell.” I think that that’s kind of what happened. I believe that I was selfish, and I believed I was a villain and inside, it never sat well. So, I felt like I was leading this double life where I felt like I was a good person, but it never rang true. A lot of people—my fans especially—were upset when I came back to Chiodos. A lot of them were happy, but a lot of them were upset because they followed me and stuck by me and they didn’t understand. I hope that they can understand through proof of seeing it that it was such a liberating, freeing thing. Because now I can actually be the person who I want to be and who I am, without trying to sound too cheesy and prolific.
But you’re no stranger to a lot of craziness.
It’s still the calm before the storm. I know it doesn’t seem like it, but it is. I’m just really thankful, really blessed and I really am grateful for it. I’ll just keep putting out that good energy and hope that it comes back and if it doesn’t then so be it. At least I can sleep at night.
You know, I’ve thought about it, right? Because I’ve been pretty quiet and I kept thinking about it. I’m in such a different place, and I almost feel kind of disconnected, in a way. Because I’m not as deep into social media and the going-ons and this and that. I’m just excited to let the record speak for itself. I know that’s cheesy, but we’ve done everything that we were supposed to do and we’ve done it in the right way, and I think that because of that, a lot of really amazing things are going to happen, and I hope people choose to be a part of that journey. alt